Sesame Street was a longtime favorite of both children and adults from all over the world. The show was not only entertaining, but it also taught us several life lessons that we can use throughout our entire lives. But how could a show of talking puppets manage to reach so many and stay with them for so long? Here we take a look back at Sesame Street, what made it so great, and the secrets that made it the cultural icon that it is today.
Here’s something that may come as a surprise to some of the most avid fans of Sesame Street - Oscar the Grouch wasn’t always green. In the first season of the show, the Oscar Muppet was actually orange, but the show’s creators decided to make him green just before the second season started. In the show, the muppet justifies him becoming green by sharing that after a vacation to Swamp Mushy Muddy resort, the darkness and dreary of the place changed his color forever.
Those who have watched most seasons of the show will no doubt remember Elmo, the furry red muppet appearing in the background several times in different seasons. The truth is that we didn’t get to see or hear much of him until much later in the show. He started mainly as a supporting character that would talk in a scratchy and deep tone, but the audience wasn’t really into it. When they changed his voice to something more “kiddie,” he became a hit.
Three years prior to the show, Jim Henson, one of the show’s puppet creators, designed a “monster” for a local cheese cracker commercial. When Sesame Street came along, the monster’s design was almost the same, except for the scary-looking teeth. Interestingly, the name “cookie monster” isn’t actually the character’s real name. The character explains on the show that the nickname stuck for so long that he couldn’t remember his real name anymore.
The freaky-looking marmot was initially Big Bird’s imaginary friend, with the show’s creators having no intention of adding the character to the screen. For several seasons, only Big Bird interacted with Mr. Snuffleupagus, since no other character could see him. But after some kickback from parents who claimed that the imaginary friendship would cause their kids to keep secrets from them, including mental health issues and sexual harassment, the show decided to include the character.
Bert and Ernie are probably Sesame Street’s most known characters, having been featured since the beginning of the show. It was only later that characters such as Oscar the Grouch and Bird Bird came along. But many people have questioned the real relationship between Bert and Ernie over the years, with claims that the two characters were actually a gay couple. The show has denied these claims though, claiming that the characters are just good friends.
At some point on the show, it was revealed that Elmo’s father was actually in the military, which inspired creators to make specific videos and materials for families who have family members in the military too. The educational and emotional content focuses mostly on explaining why relatives have to go away when they join the armed forces. The show has covered many topics that include dealing with amputation so that children are not completely shocked if that happens to their family members.